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Bryant would love to finish career with Cubs

@MLBastian
March 19, 2019

MESA, Ariz. -- In the era of free agency in baseball, it has become rare for a player to remain with one team for the entirety of his career. In the wake of reports that Mike Trout agreed to a blockbuster extension with the Angels, Cubs star Kris Bryant said

MESA, Ariz. -- In the era of free agency in baseball, it has become rare for a player to remain with one team for the entirety of his career. In the wake of reports that Mike Trout agreed to a blockbuster extension with the Angels, Cubs star Kris Bryant said on Tuesday that he would also like to be one of the exceptions.

"Absolutely," Bryant said. "I think any time you can show a loyalty to the team that drafted you and you came up with, and you established relationships with all these people, any human being would want to do that. It's no secret that everybody in this clubhouse loves playing in Chicago.

"We love everything about the organization. Everybody in this clubhouse would want to finish their careers with this team -- myself included."

As things stand, the 27-year-old Bryant is under control through the 2021 campaign. Coming off an injury-plaugued 2018 season, Bryant said there have been no conversations about an extension this spring. The former National League MVP Award winner said he has not heard rumblings of any talks with other Cubs players, either, which he believes shows that the organization is concentrating solely on the season at hand.

"There just hasn't been any talk," Bryant said. "I think [Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts] has a focus of going with what we've got now and seeing how things are going to play out at the end of the year. Obviously, he's the guy running the show. It's his team. So, I don't think there's been any talks with anybody.

"I think it's just kind of a different period for us this year. That's not a bad thing. It's just, go out there and win and focus on this year rather than get ahead of ourselves and sign everybody to extensions."

Caratini catches Lester

Lefty Jon Lester has worked almost exclusively with catcher Willson Contreras over the past two seasons. They have been paired for 343 2/3 of the pitcher's 362 1/3 innings in that span, with Lester's last regular-season pairing with another catcher occurring in '17. In Lester's Minor League outing on Monday, backup Victor Caratini was behind the plate for all six of Lester's innings.

"It's nice to work with him," Lester said. "Him seeing me and just kind of his different style than Willy. Everybody kind of has their own way they go about game-calling and the way they go about catching, and setting up and all that stuff. So, that was cool to work with him today. It's something that we need to do, just in case something does happen. We have that familiarity if we do have that situation."

Injury updates

• Reliever Pedro Strop (right hamstring) threw off a mound with no issues during Tuesday's morning workout. The late-inning reliever is expected to have another mound workout later this week and he could get into a game (potentially on the Minor League side) before camp breaks.

"He's doing really well," manager Joe Maddon said. "There's a chance he may be ready. And if not, like I told him, I said, 'Listen, don't push it right now. We're talking about [possibly missing] the first series of the year. I'd much prefer that we don't have to deal with some issues during the course of the year.' So, he gets it. We'll see how it all plays out."

• Closer Brandon Morrow (right elbow) reported he felt fine on Tuesday morning -- one day after a 20-pitch bullpen session. Morrow will open the season on the injured list and he is expected to miss about a month before rejoining the Cubs' bullpen.

• Utility man Daniel Descalso (left shoulder) took part in fielding drills on Tuesday and he also resumed swinging a bat for the first time since his March 9 injury. Descalso has not been ruled out for Opening Day.

Up next

Left-hander Cole Hamels (5.00 ERA in nine Cactus League innings this spring) is scheduled to start against the Dodgers at 9:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Sloan Park. Los Angeles will give the start to lefty Julio Urias.

Jordan Bastian covers the Cubs for MLB.com. He previously covered the Indians from 2011-18 and the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.